Today the Democratic Party gets ready for all the delegates in attendance to vote on the official party platform. The Party released the platform (here) so everyone in the nation could see what the values are that guide the Party’s elected representatives and our President in proposing policy.

If you’re like me and you believe the Democratic Party — and America, really — is at its best when expanding the rights of all people, you’ll be happy with the platform. Three notable things I want to call out are a striking contrast with the Republican Party’s platform:

The Democratic Party platform contains Equal Rights Amendment language:

We understand that women’s rights are civil rights. That’s why we
reaffirm our support for the ERA, recommit to enforcing Title IX,
and will urge ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of
All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. That’s why we are
committed to ending violence against women, why Vice
President Joe Biden originally wrote and championed the
Violence Against Women Act during his time in the Senate, and
why we support reauthorizing and strengthening it now.
The platform also contains language supporting marriage equality:

Freedom to Marry. We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.

We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act.

The platform is explicitly pro-choice and supports reproductive justice so that women can choose the timing and size of their families, or whether to have children at all:

Protecting A Woman’s Right to Choose. The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right. Abortion is an intensely personal decision between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her clergy; there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way. We also recognize that health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions. We strongly and unequivocally support a woman’s decision to have a child by providing affordable health care and ensuring the availability of and access to programs that help women during pregnancy and after the birth of a child, including caring adoption programs.

If you recall, the Republican Party platform explicitly endorses personhood and removes the exception for abortions in case of rape of incest — an extreme plank of the platform that not even all Republican support, but that has long been a cherished goal of the religious right.

Even as Mitt Romney sought to quash the furor surrounding Todd Akin’s “legitimate” rape comments, the Republican platform committee here approved an abortion plank that includes no exemptions for rape, incest or even to save the life of the mother.

The platform committee instead approved draft language Tuesday, calling for a “Human Life Amendment” that gives legal protection to the unborn. Democrats quickly labeled the GOP language the “Akin Plank,” referring to the Missouri Senate candidate’s statements that victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant.

The abortion language approved Tuesday endorses legislation that would say the 14th Amendment applies after conception and that would oppose using public funds to pay for abortions. It urges Congress to strengthen the Born Alive Infant Protection Act of 2002 by adding civil and criminal penalties for doctors who don’t adequately care for newborn babies. It supports a ban on sex-selective abortions. It also calls for mandatory waiting periods and parental consent requirements.

The Republican Party also calls for discrimination against married LGBT couples by defining marriage as “one man, one woman.” See more contrasts between a moderate Republican party platform of the past and a more conservative and religiously-influenced one of today.